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Should low-profile city treasurer job be appointed rather than elected?
Voters will be asked to weigh in on the Nov. 6 ballot
Harry Herbert
Harry Herbert, pictured here at his 2015 swearing-in ceremony, is not interested in running again for city treasurer. It gives the city a chance to see if the voters want to see the post appointed or elected. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/ Courier file photo

Hardly anyone wants the job and it doesn't entail much responsibility. That's why city officials are recommending that voters be asked if the position of city treasurer should remain elected or if it should be appointed.

The current city treasurer, Harry Herbert, said he won't be running again. Given how the position hasn't been challenged in decades, it's possible nobody will want the job when it comes again in 2019.

The California Government Code requires cities to have an elected or appointed city treasurer despite that most all of the city's finances are managed by the Finance Director. The treasurer acts as an oversight, many times just providing a signature to documents. Since the Finance Director does most of the work, City Manager Toby Wells is recommending she take on the role as city treasurer.

Several years ago the city removed the city clerk as an elective office and made it an appointed position. The practice since then has been to appoint the executive secretary which has always been the deputy clerk.

State laws have resulted in two other major changes to municipal elections in Ceres. The City Council made the move away from at-large council races toward council district elections for the first time this year. Another piece of legislation forced cities with poor voter turnout to hold their elections in even-numbered years instead of odd-numbered years. Because Herbert's term would naturally be up for election in 2019 and the city cannot hold an election that year, the council had two options: 1). Extend Herbert's term another year and make the office open in 2020, the year Americans elect a president; or 2). Ask the voters in November if the position can be appointed instead of elected. The council went with the ballot question.

Wells said Herbert supports the move to an elected city treasurer.

If the voters reject the idea of an appointed city treasurer, the council will likely be forced to lengthen the term to end in 2020.